Quotes and team information are provided courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
A Winning Mindset
One game at a time. This week’s game is the biggest one of the year. Such is the oft-spoken mantra of men who win football games (and successful athletes in any sport). Ask them about a remarkable streak, playoff scenarios, or a record about to be broken. Their answer? One game at a time. How about a hugely significant matchup looming on the schedule? Sorry, but around here, it’s one game at a time.
In this new era, with a new front office, coaching staff, and so many new players, this team could have gone in several possible directions, taken on nearly any persona. However, with strong leadership from the top down, and a singular uniting purpose, they have chosen the tried and true, one game at a time approach. Fans should take heart, as this mindset often leads to success, such as, say, an 8-4 record. Leave the wild predictions, eccentricities, wars of words, and worse still, the guarantees, to everyone else, to the teams who will be watching football on television in January.
Back in mid-November, someone asked Rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck about playoff destiny. “I think I’m still one game at a time,” Luck answered back. “We have to win and obviously I think that goes hand-in-hand with one game at a time. I try not to focus too much on that but I do realize that is obviously one of the end goals but it starts this weekend.” Luck and Colts then came into Lucas Oil Stadium and ground out a tough victory over the Buffalo Bills, followed by their heart-stopping comeback against the Lions on Sunday. One game at a time.
How does a team maintain such a rigid, unwavering focus? According to Linebacker Pat Angerer, it’s about experience and intelligence. “We’ve all been playing and competing at this game for a long time,” he said. “I think we got the right guys who are smart enough to play one game at a time.”
In short, while it won’t make national headlines, but it’s arguably one of the best types of quotes a fan could hope to hear or read. Such is the attitude of winning football teams.
The Colts currently hold the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race, with the Steelers and Bengals breathing down their necks. They have two games with the Houston Texans remaining, which could provide two of their stiffest challenges of the season, provided the Texans aren’t resting their starters in week 17.
But this week, it’s the 4-8 Tennessee Titans. The last time they met, the Colts won in overtime for their first road victory of the season. Indianapolis will be expecting nothing less than the best from the division rival Titans. “Yeah,” said Angerer, “anytime it’s a divisional game, everybody knows a lot about each other and it makes it a tough game, makes it close.”
Safety Tom Zbikowski and Running Back Donald Brown are out this week against the Titans. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were both held out of practice to rest, as is often the case on Thursdays, and Safety Antoine Bethea (neck) and LG Joe Reitz (head) also sat out yesterday.
Tackle Winston Justice (head) practiced but was limited, and Luck (knee) and DE Cory Redding (ankle) both saw full participation.
The Titans held out WR Kenny Britt for rest. Also sitting out practice were T Michael Roos (knee), WR Damian Williams (Hamstring), CB Alrerraun Verner (illness), and G Steve Hutchinson, who was placed on IR.
Linebacker Colin McCarthy saw limited action with a concussion, and TE Jered Cook (neck), RB Jamie Harper (ankle), WR Lavelle Hawkins (ankle), and QB Jake Locker (left shoulder) all sat out.
A Few More Quotes
Colts Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky on getting stops at crucial times in games, a.k.a. clutch stops: “I think each week we talk about two-minute situations, four-minute situations, and the players stand up and they may start making plays in those situations. It’s based upon knowledge of the game of what teams are going to do and where do we need to stop them and the calls that we’re going to have in. So it’s a compliment to the players that they’re understanding all that and doing it on Sunday.”
Manusky, discussing whether former college track star and high school wide receiver Teddy Williams is an intriguing prospect at cornerback: “Yeah, I mean track guy that played some football and was with the Dallas Cowboys for two years I think, one year. He’s got some skills and we’re working those skills as best as possible right now.”
Angerer on closing out tough games and making those clutch stops: “We learn as we go. We learn from our mistakes. I think that’s the big thing. You come off the sideline and you’re constantly getting corrected by different coaches. Everybody’s talking and everybody’s on the same page. It’s been real beneficial. We’ve put our quarterback in a lot of tough situations but he’s bailed us out.”
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